Beltsville has a new volunteer group! We’re called Beltsville Community Cats (BCC), and we need YOU!
It started simply enough. Several neighbors and I started leaving bowls of dry cat food and water out for the stray cats in our neighborhood. After two litters of kittens appeared, I bought two cat traps, and we started trapping the cats, having them spayed or neutered, and then bringing them back “home.” Within a year, we had gotten 25 cats altered.
When then-County Councilwoman Mary Lehman heard what we had been doing, she urged us to talk to Laurel Cats Inc. about starting a TNR group in Beltsville. (TNR stands for Trap, Neuter, Return). The result: formation of Beltsville Community Cats (BCC), a non-profit, all-volunteer program of Laurel Cats.
The goal of Beltsville Community Cats is to locate all of the “community cat” (also called “stray”) colonies in zip code 20705, trap them, and take them to a clinic in Laurel to be altered and vaccinated. Then the cats will be returned to their own neighborhood to live out the rest of their nine lives. But there will be no more kittens, and in time, the community cat population will go down. Finding all the stray cats in each colony and having them all altered will be a big job, though, and we can use your help. Among our needs:
Financial assistance in any amount. Because we are an official program of Laurel Cats, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, contributions made to Beltsville Community Cats are tax-deductible. Funds raised will be used to purchase traps and other equipment as well as to pay for spay/neuter services.
Someone to handle social media for us. This form of communication is essential in today’s world, and we are seeking someone who has this skill and is willing to manage our Facebook page and/or create a website.
A secretary to take minutes at our meetings and maintain our records.
Volunteers to help with fundraising. It costs an average of $60 to alter and vaccinate a stray cat, and if there is no one else able to cover expenses, Beltsville Community Cats needs sufficient funds to do so.
Volunteers willing to foster kittens until they are ready to be adopted into permanent homes.
I will share more information on our activities in future issues of The Beltsville News, but right now, I’d like to invite everyone to get involved in this effort. You can reach us by phone (240.444.8353), email (BeltsvilleCats@aol.com), or mail (P. O. Box 942, Beltsville, MD 20704).